Original sin/Talk

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This article needs some reworking so that it addresses the doctrine of Original Sin, which is a specific Christian doctrine dealing with the inheritance of Adam's original sin, rather than just a title assigned to the sin that Adam committed.


I believe that a lot could be added to this article for someone knowledgeable. There are probably implications of this doctrine for such things as infant baptism, the Catholic doctrine of immaculate conception, and perhaps the differences in the Protestant and Catholic approaches to this issue. I also suspect that the comment in the following comment sounds a little Protestant to me, and may not be quite how Catholics see it, but perhaps I am wrong: "The only way we are justified in God's eyes and reconciled with God is by humbly asking for forgiveness, believing that his son Jesus Christ through his death and crucifixion? took on himself the due punishment for our sins and trespasses (atonement?, and living life in obedience to God" -- Egern


I once read that Augustine held that even if you lead a perfect life and humbly ask God for forgiveness etc., He can still through you into hell because of the original sin. There does not appear to be a way to wash it off, you have to hope for mercy and have no right to expect it. I wonder if this is still doctrine, and whether catholics and protestants disagree on that point. --AxelBoldt


That certainly sounds like Augustine. Augustine probably marks the earliest point of theological departure between the Western (Catholic and Protestant) and Eastern branches of Christianity. (And this has nothing to do with the filioque clause or cultural issues like leavened/unleavened bread.) Augustine taught that you inherit the guilt of Adam's sin (maybe of everyone between you and Adam, I'm not sure), whereas Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that we inherit a corrupted human nature with a tendency to choose sin, but that we are only guilty of our own sins. Original sin is why the Catholics felt a need to come up with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, I think in the 19th century. The Eastern Orthodox church sees no need for such a doctrine, because Mary wouldn't inherit any guilt anyway, just like everyone else.

Because Augustine wrote in Latin, and wrote such large quantities, most of his contemporaries in the East didn't read much of his work, and so didn't have any immediate reaction at all, positive or negative. The Western church of course paid it much closer attention. As for as Protestantism, Augustine's doctrine of original sin still shows up in various forms, particularly in Calvinism (see Total depravity under TULIP, I think) and to some extent in Lutheranism. Arminianism doesn't hold to total depravity, but I can't remember what they do with original sin right off.